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Schizophrenia, known in China as dian kuang (madness syndrome) (Freuhauf, 1995), in which the Shen or consciousness is confused, is seen as loss of synchronisation between inner energies and external mechanises that influence these energies, keeping them within the boundaries of the individual. This accounts for the loss of ego boundaries and the evident confusion between internal and external reality. It is regarded as a consequence of dysfunction in the Wei Qi, a protective energy which is also responsible for immunity (Hammer, 1990).

Effective treatment of hallucinations, delusions, poor concentration and low vitality of schizophrenic patients have been achieved with herbs and regular acupuncture at Shanghai's College of Medicine (Hadady, 1996). Some western researchers have suggested that acupuncture may be as effective as pharmaceutical agents in schizophrenia (Beecroft & Rampes, 1997). This is yet to be validated.

The western dichotomy of positive and negative symptoms of the disorder have been captured in terms of predominantly yin or yang manifestations of the dysfunction since these concepts describe the relative differences in symptoms (Freuhauf, 1995). Each has a characteristic pulse and tongue description, regarded as important diagnostic tools, and different treatment principles.

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